Tonawanda News

February 10, 2014

The fight's not over

By Barbara Tucker
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Kudos to Bill Paton who sent in a very thoughtful Letter to the Editor last week. His point was that there should be some place that students should be able to be trained for the trades: carpenters, electricians. bricklayers, car mechanics ... and the list goes on.

My dad and his seven brothers were all bricklayers and my brothers, even though they went on to college, were bricklayers. Not only are these admirable careers, but well paying. Remember when high school boys took shop and the girls took home-ec? (Actually when our sons were in high school, they offered a course in home-ec just for the guys. It was always a full class.) Not everyone wants to go to college or wants a Regents diploma. ECC and NCCC offer great hands-on courses and should receive more attention.


Jenna Koch, Tonawanda councilwoman, sent a thank you for having been mentioned in last week’s column.

Jenna’s note included: “As I said from day one, I would do my homework and due dilligence on each resolution that comes before me during my term on the council. I firmly believe that we have to find a solution to improving our intersections here in Tonawanda. But, I do not believe that RedFlex is the answer. I have researched the history of this company and past dealings, and their reputation speaks fot itself. I have lived in the City of Tonawanda my entire life, and will do my very best to improve the quality of life to those who live here. We deserve nothing but the very best in our city, and I will work day in and day out to ensure that.”

How about that for outspoken pride in one’s city? Keep it up, Jenna.

Stop reading

If you don’t care to read anything else about St. Francis School and its fight to stay open, turn to another section of the paper because, in response to calls, emails and meetings on the subject, the rest of this space is dedicated to the school and its dedicated staff, alumni and friends who are more than determined to keep it open, especially with a healthy enrollment of 150 in kindergarten to eighth-grade and another 40 in preschool.

First of all, the bishop, secretary of education and the diocesan superintendent of schools could be given a little leeway with the decision, just in case they did not know that St. Francis School is in the City of Tonawanda and that North Tonawanda is a city, neither of which bus children out of the district. Just in case this scenario is correct, I sent them each a map outlining the two cities and the Town of Tonawanda along with non-bashing letters.

A response from the superintendent and secretary suggested my efforts might be better used to promote the Town schools. No response from the bishop.

However, I didn’t expect a response as the bishop did not respond to Sen. Maziarz, Assemblyman Schimminger, Erie County Legislator Hardwick or the mayors of the Twin Cities — all of whom wrote expressing their disappointment at the decision with hopes it would be rethought. I’m way down on that list of prominent people fighting for St. Francis.

Even Andy Parker from Channel 2, who sponsors the Weather Machine Contest for schools, emailed the principal that he would like to feature the school’s Save the Saint Francis Facebook page which has 2,276 likes and counting. It will be featured some time next week on Channel 2’s weather.

Regarding the no-responses, it seems there are just two reasons:

First, the bishop’s guarded by a secretary who just files the letters, or, secondly, he just doesn’t know how to rethink a decision. He clearly wants to help the low-income and minority families living in Buffalo and is hell-bent on consolidation. Guess we’re not poor enough.

Carol Kostyniak, secretary of eduction, was quoted in the Western New York Catholic: “What we want to avoid in this process is leaving a bunch of families out where they have no options.”

Is she kidding? Doesn’t she know she’s leaving all the kids in our Twin Cities without any options since the only path parents have to assure that their children attend Town schools is to drive them and pick them up?

“I will go to my grave before Catholic schools become only for the elite,” she added.

C’mon, has she ever visited us, just two wonderful cities deprived of Catholic schools through the ignorance and stubbornness of diocesan leaders who refuse to answer questions, respond, or meet.

And, at the every least, shouldn’t the bishop be concerned just a bit with the Catholic Charities drive gearing up. I know where my donation is going — and it’s not to Buffalo.

Keep fighting!